tv Satellite News From Taiwan PBS December 30, 2010 8:00pm-8:30pm PDT
hello. welcome to nhk "newsline." i'm ross mihara in tokyo with the stories at this hour. this year has been the deadliest for afghan civilians since u.s. led military operations began in the country in 2001. on thursday the death toll rose further with a roadside blast killing 14. a mini bus carrying local residents was struck by a bomb in the southern province of helmand. the provincial government said the 14 included women and children. four others were wounded.
about two weeks ago a similar roadside explosion took place in the western province of hedat and also killed 14 locals. the united nations says more than 2400 civilians were killed in fighting and terrorist attacks in the first ten months of 2010. the figure is equivalent to the entire 2009 total. as of late, more civilians have been falling victim to explosives that are set up by the taliban and then for u.s. international and local security forces. an international nongovernmental organization says the death toll for iraqi civilians was nearly 4,000 this year. it's a reminder that more than ten civilians are killed every day in that nation. iraq body count says that as of saturday 3,983 civilians were killed due to military or paramilitary action this year. the figure is 700 less than last year and the fewest since the u.s. led war in iraq began in
march, 2003. but many countries are still holding back from investing in oil and other projects in iraq because of the poor security. the coalition government inaugurated last week has yet to appoint cabinet ministers to be in charge of security. u.s. combat troops are scheduled to completely withdraw from the country by the end of next year. commentators have observed that the iraqi administration needs to find ways to prevent terrorism so that the country can fully engage in reconstruction. the south korean defense ministry says north korea has increased its special operations forces by 20,000 to 200,000 in the last two years. it also says the country has boosted its troops strength near the demilitarized zone that divides the korean peninsula. the defense ministry released its biannual defense white paper on thursday. it says the north korean military has a total of 1.19 million troops in ground, naval,
and air forces. that's unchanged from two years ago meaning the north has been shifting personnel between forces. the defense ministry notes north korea's reinforcements near the dmz including a new model battle tank and special operations forces able to carry out missions such as assassinations. the defense report says north korea deploys 60% of its naval forces in its southern waters, ready for a landing operation on to the south korean coast. it also says the north is developing a new kind of torpedo similar to the one used to sink a south korean ship last march. following a recent series of attacks including an artillery strike in november, the document describes north korea as the enemy for the first time in ten years. the white paper also estimates that north korea has about 40 kilograms of plutonium that could be used for nuclear weapons. a senior russian official says an ongoing territorial dispute
with japan should not get in the way of developing bilateral economic relations. russian deputy foreign minister who is in charge of asian affairs made the statement in a news conference in moscow on thursday. he emphasized economic ties between russia and japan are becoming stronger. he said this year's total bilateral trade has reached $20 billion as the number of japanese companies set up operations in russia. regarding the territorial dispute of the four islands off northern japan he said it should not hold back the normal and dynamic development taking place in other sectors. last friday russian president dimitry medvedev told a domestic television station that promoting economic cooperation with japan does not mean that russia will give up the four islands claimed by the country. honda motor has revealed that the personal data of a large number of its customers
has been leaked online. all of them had registered on its u.s. website. honda says there are 2.2 million cases in which the name, e-mail address or website of its customer was leaked. this includes owners of the luxury acura model. honda found out about the leak early this month. the company says someone accessed its website illegally to leak the information. it's asking affected customers to change the pass words they use to access the site. honda's u.s. website is managed by an american online service company. the firm says several businesses were hit during the same period and that the fbi has launched an investigation. japan's stock market finished down in the last trading session of 2010 and also ended lower for the year with the nikkei average falling 3% from 12 months ago.
our market reporter ramin mellegard has more. we saw the benchmark nikkei closing lower on the final session of the year as investors focused on the yen's appreciation against the euro and the dollar. the yen strengthened as some exporters repatriated funds back into yen for the october to december quarter. now, the nikkei has lost around 3% from the 2009 closing levels and the strong yen has been a major reason for the fluctuations that we've seen in stocks here in japan. we asked the general manager of dawai capital security markets for his review of 2010. >> early this year we had a quite positive investment environment and actually the nikkei 225 index wasn't brought
down by the delisting because market participants expected an economic recovery basically. things have worsened in europe so the greek debt problem developed to the level of the financial rescue by the eu and the imf. and that had a great impact on the euro. i think it was an underlying cause for the trouble and that it was the less than expected economic recovery such as lowering of the world economy recovery weakened the euro and dollar against the yen. the japanese government intervened in september but that wasn't effective. and so the yen/dollar rate hit
the atn at the end of october, the lowest of the last 15 years. things have changed since november when the u.s. introduced quantitative easing phase two and also the bank of japan implemented comprehensive easing monetary policy. overseas investors saw the turning point in the yen/dollar rate and also saw the earnings strength of the japanese corporations even despite the higher yen. and so they are starting to appreciate the japanese stocks and now are overcoming those troubles toward next year. >> investors will be keen to see if the nikkei can continue the overall positive momentum that it's seen since early november.
they'll also be looking to see how the u.s. economy along with those of china and emerging economies can help boost japan's export-led growth into 2011. now, trading here at the tokyo stock exchange resumes on january 4th. >> that was market reporter ramin mellegard. in athens a bomb has exploded in front of a courthouse, damaging the building and nearby cars. local authorities are investigating the blast including links with earlier terror attacks in the country and in italy. the explosive, believed to be hidden in a motorcycle, was detonated on thursday morning in the greek capital. nobody was hurt as people were evacuated from the area after anonymous phone calls warned a television station and other institutions of a bomb. no one has claimed responsibility for the attack so far. also on thursday an explosion took place in front of the greek embassy in argentina damaging part of the building. the attacks come after a string
of parcel bombs were sent to foreign embassys in athens last night. a greek anarchist group claimed responsibility. last week similar letter bombs were sent to embassies in rome. the u.n. food and agriculture organization is warning of a possible food shortage in haiti. many rice farmers have stopped working the fields because of the caribbean country's cholera epidemic. the deadly outbreak has been spreading in the aftermath of last january's strong earthquake. the united nations says the disease has killed more than 2700 people. about thers have been infected. there has been a sharp increase in the number of rice producers in haiti's northwest who have stopped farming out of fear they will catch cholera through irrigation water. it also says a number of people not buying rice from areas dealing with the serious outbreak is on the rise. hurricane thomas left about 78,000 hectres of farm land
flooded in haiti last month. they are trying to deal with the possible food shortage by giving farmers advice on how to prevent cholera infections. the number of japanese holiday travelers traveling overseas through tokyo's haneda airport peaked on thursday. with nearly 50 international flights departing from the airport check-in counters were crowded with people mainly heading to china, south korea, taiwan, and other asian destinations. haneda airport resumed regular international operations in october for the first time in 32 years. the gar chur terminal features an area designed to look like an old tokyo street called edo alley. restaurants were crowded with travelers and those there to see them off.
>> things are looking up for at least one sector of japan's energy business. it's solar energy. concerns about the environment are increasing demand for more efficient methods. and companies are responding with a multitude of solutions. >> this looks like a contemporary art installation but these clover-shaped mirrors are actually designed to generate solar energy. japanese companies are intensifying their focus on solar thermal generation. their target market, however, is not japan but overseas. solar thermal plants are made from thousands of mirrors that reflect light into a huge storage unit. the heat activates a steam
turbine that generates electricity. the energy source is naturally limitless. it's sunshine. but up to now generating power this way has been more expensive than conventional power stations. solar thermal generation accounts for less than 1% of the world's electricity production but because the environmental impact is minimal, the figure is expected to rise to 11% by 2050. european companies have taken the lead in this field. a major project is now under way to deliver electricity to europe from thermal plants in the middle east and north africa. it's estimated that by 2050, 15% of europe's electricity requirements will be sourced this way. japan is not a major player in
this industry though it was the first country to construct a solar generation plant almost 30 years ago. the problem is that japan doesn't get enough sunshine to generate viable levels of electricity so thermal technology has been overlooked. one of the most promising markets for solar power plants is in north africa. there is no shortage of sunshine in this vast region. the focus is now clearly on this market. at an economic forum japan promoted their solar thermal technology. >> translator: most japanese people think of oil when they think of arab countries but in the future we expect to collaborate there in many fields. >> japanese companies are now
hard at work improving solar thermal technology with the aim of breaking into this regional market. they have developed a remarkable new system called the beam down method. normally solar thermal generation relies on a single set of mirrors placed on the ground. the new japanese method involves double reflection with a large set of mirrors reflecting into a single domed mirror on a tower. the mirrors are equipped with sensors and mortars to follow the sun. this produces higher than normal temperatures. furthermore the system is cheaper to build. the mirrors also have another unique feature. in fact, this mirror is not flat but slightly concave. this shape allows it to better and more efficiently trap light.
light reflected from a curved mirror is more concentrated. this method generates temperatures as high as 1,500 degrees celsius, three times higher than conventional systems. >> we have the technology to catch up with and even overtake the west. we will soon conduct megawatt scale tests and then tackle global markets. >> with japan's solar technology on the rise, the competition may be heating up in the thermal power industry worldwide. next we look at baseball in china. its professional baseball league was established in 2002 and is still a work in progress but with people from around the
world pitching in, the country is fast raising its game. >> reporter: we went to see one of the china league baseball games from tianjin about an hour's drive from beijing. the league was in the midst of the 2010 season running from july 12th to august 29th. ballparks in china can only accommodate several thousand people. for the moment, that's probably enough since most chinese aren't familiar with the rules of the game. the number of fans is growing though thanks in part to coverage during the olympics. most of the teams in the league are in partnerships with japanese professional baseball teams. the tianjin lines for example have an alliance with yokohama
base stars. the coach was sent to serve as the manager for tianjin this season. he says the team has a number of players with high potential. he concentrated on teaching training know how and game tactics to the most competent players to build up the team's strength. but he sees a problem that even practice probably can't overcome. >> translator: these players began baseball at the age of 15 or 16. that's too late. some japanese kids start playing with the baseball when they're about 3 years old. china will have a hard time catching up with other countries without introducing the game to children when they are elementary school age. >> he isn't just setting out a blueprint for someone else to build on. he is doing his part in the construction project by coaching a kids' team. incentives he believes will get
more children involved. the china league players are employees of the government sports bureau and don't make much money. he thinks if baseball players were treated better, chinese kids would aspire to a future in your the game. in may a hong kong based sports investment company signed an exclusive partnership with the chinese baseball association and decided to provide funds to the league. the same company entered into a 15-year contract with the china youth baseball league last year. >> without professional league the china youth league will not have it for the good players. we need good support for the next generation so it is of mutual benefit. the first three years i will not see any profit, any return in both the cybl and cbl but after three years i think i will have
a much better idea. >> the world's largest baseball body is also showing interest in the chinese game. major league baseball has established a trading academy that mlb development center at a high school in an eastern province. >> we want to make baseball the number one sport in the world and in order to do that we think it must be played at a high level and the largest country by population in the world. >> 36 students who passed ability tests including a 30-yard sprint, distance throw, and broad jump are now training at the center. they practice after school, on weekdays, and on the weekends. producing elite players is likely a long-term endeavor.
the immediate objective is bringing chinese baseball to a higher level and creating a better environment for the sport. >> we have what we call a golden guest program so every weekend during our regular academic year we bring in coaches and players so they can take that back to their baseball area to their town to their province and say, hey. these are the things we learned. this is what's going on. and then they can kind of spread better baseball. >> so it's not just the government trying to build up the sport or private industry. that development of chinese baseball is an international endeavor. >> japan has won the world classic baseball title twice and the winner at the beijing olympics was not the united states or a european country but, rather, south korea. this shows baseball is a sport asians can do well in. i believe china will certainly reach the top level, too.
>> if that turns out to be true baseball's current heavyweights will have another formidible competitor to contend with. that day may not be too far away. now time for the weather. welcome to your world weather update. eastern asia, largely settled and dry for china, cold air starting to spread across much of the region. we are going to find wintry precipitation forming over the west and also up into the northeastern corner. again, we're looking at a light dusting of snow here over a wide area. strong winds also impacting the yellow sea will bring some snow to the korean peninsula again and wind storms really kicking up for much of japan. we've been looking at widespread snow as well as strong winds impacting much of the region and
that's set to continue throughout your new year's weekend. they even had the first snowfall of the season in tokyo last night as well as significant snow falling down in nagasaki. winds are going to be pretty strong, waves, too, pretty high and snow accumulation could really pile up to as much as one meter in the next 24 hours so it could certainly be making travel quite difficult and dangerous. 9 degrees today, rather chilly. tokyo. seoul, minus 6 the cold air starting to invade into central china here, 2 degrees in shanghai. that's going to be dropping below freezing come saturday. now, let's take you over to north america. we've got a split in the warm air weather and the cold weather. the frigid air continues to dominate much of the west while the warm air arriving from the gulf will be spreading into the northeastern region of the u.s. here. in between it is going to be wintry and severe once again over a wide area especially across the dakotas but also for parts of the four corners,
colorado picking up as much as 60 centimeters of snow. elsewhere looking at blizzard like conditions, drifting and blowing snow making travel quite difficult up here as well and then over towards the south you're looking at more like rain and thunderstorms around mississippi. temperatures then looking warm down in the south, 25 degrees in miami. very mild, 13 in chicago. big jump here. 7 degrees in new york city and then over towards the west very frigid conditions. minus 11 in denver. 1 degree up in vancouver. now as for europe the cold certainly continues to dominate much of the eastern regions, again looking at widespread snow across scandinavia, northern germany, into northwestern russia. most of that is light for your friday. it is going to be easing but come saturday a new system will be forming over scandinavia bringing another round of heavy snow to places like the baltic states and northwestern russia. dealing with more torrential rains in turkey as well as heavy
amounts of snow up in the mountains here, so flooding is going to be a major concern out here for the central mediterranean through france and all the way into northwestern europe generally dry, although rather cloudy for much of the uk and ireland. now, portugal and western spain will be continuing with more rain and thunderstorms. temperatures not bad, though. 90 degrees in lisbon. pretty mild out here. and berlin is going to be 1 degree. it's been a while since we saw that figure rise above the freezing mark. so do enjoy that break in the frigid weather. minus 8 in moscow. more snow for you. minus 3 in stockholm. here is your extended forecast now.
huge rice cakes have been offered to a shrine in central japan to wish for a safe year in prosperity in the coming new year. some 350 farmers offered five rice cakes of different sizes in an annual ceremony at the shrine in nagoya city on thursday. the largest one was 1.5 meters in diameter and weighed more than 400 kilograms. the farmers, wearing white, walked slowly carrying the rice cakes to the hall of worship. >> the cakes will sit in the shrine until the morning of january 8th. they will then be cut into pieces and distributed to